Ask these questions whenever you are prescribed an antibiotic:
Is it really necessary? Sometimes doctors wrongly assume that you want an antibiotic
Is it the right one? It’s best to use a drug that targets the specific bacteria infecting you. For example, urinary-track infections are usually caused by E-coli, which some respiratory stem from staph and strap. Ideally, your doctor should order cultures to determine the cause.
How long should I take it? Using a drug longer than prescribed makes side effects and resistance more likely. Stopping early is a bad idea, too.
What are the side effects? Some antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin increase the risk of stomach problems, in part by killing off the good bacteria that normally live in your gut. Several antibiotics are especially prone to causing a dangerous gastrointestinal infection called C difficile, which sickens some 250,000 hospital patients each year and kills about 14,000.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health April 2014